Author: Taylor Bathel
When you’re on your third day of having the same taco bowl lunch, standard meal prep can leave you feeling kinda blah. Enter: freezer meal prep! Freezer prep allows you to switch things up daily without fear of food waste. It creates a stock of healthy, ready-to-go meals, which can be especially helpful for busy or unpredictable schedules.
How does this ‘freezer prep’ thing work?
There are two ways to do it! You can cook and then freeze full meals to be reheated and enjoyed, or you can freeze individual aspects of meals (i.e. grains, proteins).
You may be thinking, well, can I freeze anything?! Not really. For example, that divine crisp you experience from fresh cucumber will not hold up. Foods with a very high water content (like cucumber), will change texture when frozen and thawed. You can still freeze high-water veggies, but just plan to cook them afterwards. For example, frozen spinach is great cooked in pasta, but won’t be great for a raw salad after frozen.
Some freezer meal tips:
- Freezer-safe packaging: Use a material that will not crack or deteriorate when frozen, and will lock in moisture and seal out air. Aluminum pans, freezer-proof plastic bags, and glass containers are best at keeping your food protected.
- Strategic portion sizes: Smaller portions will cook faster and are great for individual meals, while larger portions are handy for crock-pot or family meals.
- Record the details: On your packaging, write the date you froze the meal and reheating instructions. When properly frozen, your food should stay fresh and freezer-burn-free for about 3 months.
- Cool before freezing: Cooling your food before placing in the freezer ensures that you don’t accidentally thaw surrounding frozen foods which can cause bacteria growth. Once your meal is cooled, freeze it right away to ensure the highest quality when eaten.
Get started with these recipes
- Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches
- Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffins
- Mini Frittatas
- Strawberry Banana Green Smoothie
- Frozen Sweet Potato Oatmeal Waffle
- Freezer Oatmeal Cups
Lunch / Dinner
- Curried Cauliflower Chickpea Wraps
- Slow Cooker Lemon Pesto Chicken
- Roasted Vegetable Burritos
- Turkey Meatball and Tortellini Soup
- Black Bean Veggie Burgers
- Shrimp Stir Fry Freezer Pack
- Slow Cooker Chicken (7 ways!)
- Mexican Lasagna
- Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
Other freezer staples
Having these frozen essentials can get half-way to a healthy meal in a flash:
- Whole grain bread, buns, or tortillas
Tip: Pop frozen bread right into the toaster to thaw.
- Cooked protein (i.e. burgers, chicken breast)
Tip: Slice your protein into smaller pieces for a faster reheat.
- Cooked grains (i.e. brown rice, quinoa)
Tip: If you’re freezing pasta, undercook it slightly so it can finish cooking, without getting mushy, when reheated.